Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Journey Continues...

Okay – The celebration of becoming one of the last 16 is over and it’s time to get back to business.  In a few short hours, the Madness renews itself with the road to the Elite 8 and the subsequently, the March to the Final Four.  Like you need any reminding of that hereMichigan is a 1 point favorite over Oregon, but after watching Oregon and Rhode Island go at each other, I’m not so sure.  As a fan, I think I’m nervous about either one of those teams, but Michigan got the Ducks and Dorsey, the 2017 NCAA Tourney best player through the first two games…

Game Time:        7:09 PM EDT
Line:                   Michigan by 1

My guess is that Oregon is going to have problems with Michigan’s versatility on the offensive side of the ball.  But, a lot like Okie State, Oregon simply won’t give a shit and they’ll be putting it up early and often in an effort to outscore the Wolverines.  So far, that strategy hasn’t worked by anyone willing to try it.  Try to slow the game down and you play right into the Wolverines hands.  I’m really not sure how you game plan for the Wolverines.  Pitino decided that, If the Cardinals were going to lose, it was the “bigs” that were going to beat him.,..and they did.  Walton was covered and more or less taken out of the offense, but it didn’t matter. “Mo Baskets” just kept doing what he does best.  Again, if you’re Oregon, what do you do?  God knows I don’t have an answer for Michigan’s versatility and I’ve been watching them all year.  Oregon coaches should be pulling their hair out about now. 
Managing Oregon defensively will be a task, however.  Granted, there are times when this team will fall asleep (go back to an earlier blog where the ducks only scored 16 – 16!!! – in the 1st half against Oregon State and came back and scored 52 in the 2nd half to win by 1!!!  Yep – this team can score and when they’re on, they’re on.  But they also fall asleep from time to time.
But I have faith in the Beilein….and the Donlon

Re-Seeding NONSENSE!!!

The latest talk, for the last couple of years, is re-seeding the bracket in the Sweet 16 after the early “sins” of the committee have been revealed.  This is stupid, asinine and just plain impossible with respect to how millions of fans would manage their brackets after that re-seeding (tongue slightly in cheek here).  Pools would shut down because pool – coordinators would go nuts, unless they were managing them on line.  But still, I don’t want to re-seed for a couple of other reasons.
1.    Teams that have the resources and opportunity to look ahead at who their 3rd and 4th round match-up might be have already done so (probably the Monday or Tuesday after the brackets come out.)  That gives those teams a little extra edge and time to prepare.
2.    Whatever mistakes the committee made early should be the penance or the reward for those teams that are paying for that error or reaping the rewards of it.  Right now, if you were to re-seed based on Sagarin, KenPom and the other dynamic metrics (updated through the 2nd round of the NCAA Tourney), you’d have, in this order:
a.    Kansas
b.    UNC
c.    Wisconsin
d.    Gonzaga
e.    Michigan
f.     Arizona
g.    UCLA
h.    Florida
i.      WVU
j.      Kentucky
k.    South Carolina
l.      Oregon
m.   Butler
n.    Xavier
o.    Purdue
p.    Baylor

I color coded the current regions to make this easier, but suffice it to say, you want to be HIGH RANKED with more of YOUR color lower on the seeding.  Right now, according to metrics, Purdue and Oregon are the first two teams to show up in any region.  Meaning Kansas and Michigan got lucky.  But I still think Purdue is better than their stats and will give Kansas fits not to mention that Kansas shot way up with its first and 2nd round opponents basically sucking (Thanks Sparty)….If it was re-seeded:  Meaning Michigan would be a 2-Seed in the Kansas Bracket along with WVU as the 3-Seed and Butler as the 4-Seed.  I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, I’m just saying let’s leave it as what did we really change besides making certain, higher seeds roads easier or harder than they are now?
3.    How on earth would you ever make travel plans?  Granted, there’s a boatload of Louisville and Duke fans cancelling reservations, but at least they could make them!
The Biggest Gain:  Teams that endured a difficult first two games as a lower seed that prevailed may be the beneficiary of a better seed draw after the re-seed, and vice versa.  But I say:  Leave it alone….

More Refereeing Idiocy
According to reports, there was an NCAA apology issued for the Gonzaga vs. Northwestern Goal Tend that wasn’t by the NCAA head of officials.  And I have to ask, “Why?”  Why apologize for something after we all know what happened?  Why not instead state, “Hey, this is a problem and we’re looking at a rule change to address the problem.”  Like instant replay on really stupid or non-calls.  I don’t know where you draw the line, but there were way too many games (with Yahoo Sports website listing the worst ones – which didn’t even include some of the garbage Michigan endured!) where the refereeing definitely impacted the game.  That should not happen.  In this day and age, there’s gotta be a better way.  Plays included in the Top 5 were the Gonzaga – NWU, UNC Charge and the Seton Hall flagrant that wasn’t, all of which I witnessed. 
I know that refs are human and referees will make mistakes and that’s just part of the game.  But this level of incompetence should get somebody over at the NCAA off their dead ass and figure out what can be done.  Generate a list of lessons learned and figure out if adding a 4th ref helps things?  I dunno….but fergodsakes, do something.

A Guilty Pleasure
I have to admit, I enjoy reading about the Wolverines locally now as I don’t have to suffer through an article by the now deceased Drew Sharp (RIP), who probably would have written a headline after Sunday’s upset that would have read something like,
“Overachieving Wolverine Squad Wins Again, But It Can’t Last” or
“Wolverine’s Win, But Another Crash Possible!”
“Beilein’s Job Saving Run Continues!!!”, or even,
“Michigan Getting Everything Out of Their Rag-Tag Squad and Catching the Real Elites Off Guard!”
Yep – There’s some guys I don’t miss…And he’s one of ‘em. 

The Best Coach in the State of Michigan?
On Tuesday, there was a great debate on Sirius Channel 84 between Rick Pizzo (BTN announcer), Dan Dakich and one of the clueless tools on Sirius who I was going to leave nameless (Childers) who stated that, you could “Almost” make an argument that Beilein was the better coach in the State of Michigan.  Both Pizzo (who I have a lot of respect for) and Dakich jumped all over Childers with a litany of reasons that they both believed that Beilein could be argued as not only the best coach in the B1G, but maybe even the country!  Part of the reasoning being, “How do you want to measure the success of a coach?”  
The reasons stated:
1.    Michigan rarely gets the “Super AAU Level” top recruits.  Beilein recruits kids like that from time to time, but he generally gets “kids” that can play pretty well and they can also shoot.  A lot of those kids end up making it into the NBA. Michigan actually has just as many players still playing in the NBA as Michigan State over the last 5 seasons.
2.    Measuring a coach by his “success” of National Titles is only one way to measure them.  Nobody expects Michigan to do anything year in and year out with the recruits it gets and Beilein improves players on his watch every single season.  Not only that, but how many times has Michigan started outside the Pre-Season Top 25 and finished inside the Top 25?
3.    If you’re a player that’s looking to play in a system that will develop all your skills and give you the best chance to play at the next level, you would want to play for Beilein.
4.    Pizzo also stated he thought Beilein’s offense was one of the better ones in the country and he would put it up against anyone’s offense.  Michigan’s ability to change from a perimeter to an inside game and still be effective is unique.  They’re going to get you one way or another.  And now with Donlon on board, they’re defense, will probably continue to rank highly in Kenpom and Sagarin for seasons to come.
5.    Dakich stated that if you’re a “big guy” in the Izzo system, for example, you’re going to be relegated to playing a very specific role that won’t give you a chance to develop all your skills. 
Childers made some lame arguments that Izzo was getting just as many players to the NBA, and he had a National Title, but both Pizzo and Dakich fell back on, what criteria do you want to use?  And both stated that a National Title could easily be in Beilein’s future!!!  And if he wins one, well than who IS The Best in the State of Michigan?

Loved every minute of it!!!

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